On Tuesday, JTA published an op-ed coauthored by Jerry Silverman of the Jewish Federations of North America and Rabbi Steve Gutow of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs describing the threat of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement to Israel and the efforts of their organizations to counter that threat.
I resent having to provide this disclaimer every time the issue of BDS is broached, but here goes, because I don’t want to hear about it later: Though I don’t support a boycott of Israel in its entirety, I do support the boycott of Israeli and international businesses which operate in the occupied territories, occupation-complicit Israeli officials and institutions, and avowed Jewish nationalist extremists. I also support soldiers who refuse to serve in the occupied territories, and Israeli NGOs which report on and legally challenge Israel’s human rights abuses.
I used to call myself a Zionist. I cannot any longer because of the increasingly rightward tilt of the community. I’m still a supporter of the two state solution, but I’m growing more sympathetic to the argument for one state, mostly because I do not see two states coming to pass due to the intransigence of Israel’s government, and because I’m extremely skeptical of Israel’s commitment to the rights of its Arab citizens. That’s why I’m neither hostile to BDS nor supportive of the Jewish community’s efforts to marginalize BDS supporters, and why, when I read Silverman and Gutow’s op-ed, I couldn’t help but find myself either incredulous or incensed at every line.
What follows, therefore, is a proper fisking.